Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) on Monday evening conceded during a town hall on the Fox News Channel that freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) has to do a “better job” to allay the concerns of Jewish Americans following a string of antisemitic statements.
A partial transcript is as follows:
BRET BAIER: Senator, you are looking to become the first Jewish president, you are also a staunch supporter of Congresswoman Ilhan Omar—
SEN. BERNIE SANDERS: —Hold it, hold it, hold it. I’ve talked to Ilhan about twice in my life… I respect her but this is what I do support: I support a Muslim member of Congress not to be attacked every single day in outrageous, racist remarks.
BAIER: Sure, my question is that even some fellow Democrats had some problems — have accused her of using language kind of associated with antisemitism — can you understand why some Jewish Americans would have a problem with some of that.
SANDERS: Well, I can understand. I think that is not quite right, and I think that Ilhan has got to do maybe a better job in speaking to the Jewish community. But if your question to me is “do I think she’s antisemitic?” No, I don’t… But here is the point, also. I’m Jewish. I’ve lost my father’s family — was devastated by Hitler. This is an issue of some sensitivity to me. So, I will do everything in my power, and I hope that every member of Congress will fight not only antisemitism, but racism and anti-Muslim activity, so that we create a non-discriminatory society. But it is not antisemitic to be critical of a right-wing government in Israel. That is not antisemitic.